CRM is more than two decades old. Companies initially used it to provide “inside-out” efficiencies – operational efficiencies for sales, marketing, and customer service organizations.

Companies would easily argue its’ business benefits by measuring operational metrics that were important to them – like reducing marketing costs, better forecasting or pipeline reporting, or decreasing service resolution times. Because of this real ROI, CRM became a foundational enterprise technology and continues to be today.

Today, it’s a different story. Companies still rely on CRM, but require it to do more than provide operational efficiencies. They expect CRM today to support customers through their end-to-end engagement journey to garner their satisfaction and long-term loyalty — an “outside-in” or “customer-first” perspective. It helps companies deliver differentiated experiences

Modern CRM evolves to deliver truly differentiated experiences

  • CRM becomes componentized. Companies today buy CRM to solve a singular business problem (like modernizing sales processes), instead of the full suite all at once. Because of this, CRM vendors increasingly fragment their front office applications to allow sales, marketing and service applications to be purchased separately.
  • CRM verticalizes for agility. Historically, the only industry-specific CRMs available were for enterprises. These CRMs offered end-to-end industry-specific process flows, data models, and regulations. Today, companies of all sizes demand productized core industry capabilities to allow them to focus their efforts on differentiation. And vendors have responded with lighter weight industry specific solutions.
  • CRM platforms become more strategic. Silos of data and processes within enterprises become more apparent as CRM fragments into discrete sales, marketing and service applications. Platforms that unify data, processes, and security within the various enterprise CRM deployments rise in importance. Platforms also allow developers or business analysts using low-code tooling to create applications that extend capabilities within packaged CRM.

This evolution is shaping the CRM trends for 2018. You can read about these trends here, or wait for my next blog post.